The ambassador of the southeast African nation of Malawi will be in Nebraska this week.
The visit by the Honorable Edward Sawerengera was arranged by Joe Mtika, a Norfolk resident and Malawi native. Mtika says the ambassador will start his Nebraska tour today in Lincoln.
“The governor is accommodating the time the ambassador is going to be in Lincoln as well as Congressman Jeff Fortenberry would like to meet with him,” Mtika says. “We’re very excited they’re going to be in Lincoln to learn about our state and be welcomed by the governor himself.”
Using Norfolk Public Schools as his inspiration, Mtika founded Norfolk Schools in a large city in Malawi and got donations of books, computers and other supplies from residents and schools in Nebraska.
When Malawian authorities attached a duty to the shipment, Mtika contacted the ambassador, who paved the way for it to be released, duty-free.
The school is in Blantyre, a city of about 1.1 million. Mtika says the ambassador has been very supportive of his educational venture.
“When you’re studying a new thing, there’s a lot of sacrifices that have to be made,” Mtika says. “I’m hoping that the mayor of Blantyre, when he gets to know about the school and the partners we have, they’re going to realize this is a win-win situation. It will help a lot of students from Malawi get an education that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
In addition to the stops in Lincoln, the ambassador will also spend time in Lindsay today, where he’ll meet with Lindsay Manufacturing officials to discuss irrigation.
Tuesday’s itenerary includes a visit to the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce with the Mayor of Blantyre. Also, Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning will sign an official proclamation, declaring Norfolk and Blantyre as sister cities.
They’re also scheduled to visit several Norfolk schools, businesses, a manufacturing plant and an area farm.
By Paul Hughes, WJAG, Norfolk